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Waubonsee Honors Athletic Hall of Fame Inductees

Five men are lined up holding plaques and smiling.
Waubonsee Community College recently inducted the sixth class of its Athletic Hall of Fame, which included (l to r): Robert Stehman, Tim Buckley, Stanley Gress, Jim Teckenbrock and Dr. John Avendano.

Waubonsee Community College inducted three athletes, an athlete/coach and a Chiefs supporter into its Athletic Hall of Fame during the college’s annual Athletic Banquet on May 8.

Dr. John Avendano, Tim Buckley, Stanley Gress, Robert Stehman and Jim Teckenbrock were chosen to form the sixth class of the Waubonsee Athletic Hall of Fame for their involvement in sports, dedication to Waubonsee, athletic successes, and contributions to the community or career accomplishments earned after leaving Waubonsee. The Hall of Fame was formed in 2007 in conjunction with the school’s 40th anniversary celebration.

“We are proud to recognize the success of our student-athletes, as well as the coaches, administrators and community supporters who helped to foster that success,” Waubonsee Athletic Manager Dave Randall said. “Waubonsee athletics has a rich history in contributing to the total development of our students and to the campus community as a whole.”

After being a stand-out athlete at East Aurora High School, Dr. John Avendano came to play baseball at Waubonsee. As a freshman, he earned All-Skyway First Team honors before serving as the Chiefs’ captain and setting Waubonsee’s season and career marks for sacrifice bunts his sophomore year. After finishing out his playing days and undergraduate education at Elmhurst College, Avendano later returned to Waubonsee as the Assistant Baseball Coach for nine seasons. During that time he also managed Waubonsee’s Fitness Center, which he had helped create. Avendano took over as Head Coach of the softball team for one season, leading the Lady Chiefs to a Skyway Conference title. He now leads Kankakee Community College as that institution’s sixth president.

Tim Buckley has been a part of the basketball programs at a lot of colleges and universities over the years, but it all started when he played for the Chiefs in the early 1980s. In his sophomore year, he earned All-Skyway Conference before continuing his playing career at Bemidji State University (BSU) in Minnesota. BSU also gave him his start in coaching; he served as an assistant there before becoming the youngest head coach in the nation at Rockford College in 1989. Buckley has since worked with larger programs, serving as an assistant at the University of Wisconsin, Marquette University and the University of Iowa. He also worked as an assistant and then head coach at Ball State University for six seasons. While there he led the Cardinals to a MAC West Division title in 2001-2002, eventually reaching the Elite Eight of the NIT Tournament. Buckley is currently the top assistant coach at Indiana University.

Transferring from another community college to Waubonsee for his sophomore year, wrestler Stanley Gress made an immediate impact. He won the St. Louis Open; was Skyway Conference Champion, the Skyway Conference Tournament Most Valuable Player and Region IV Champion; and placed third in the nation at the NJCAA Wrestling Championships. Gress finished the season 48-9, which still stands as a Waubonsee record for most wins in a single season. Subsequently, Gress was named Waubonsee’s Male Athlete of the Year for 1989-1990. After graduating with an associate degree, he moved on to Eastern Illinois University on a wrestling scholarship.

Robert Stehman looms large in the rich history of Chiefs baseball, holding nine school records in offensive categories. The right-handed batter posted single-season records for batting average (.500), hits (77), runs (62) and triples (nine). Stehman reached base a school-record 109 times, and his on-base percentage of .582 has never been eclipsed. In addition, he smacked the fourth most home runs with nine, fourth most doubles with 16 and drove in the sixth most runs in Chiefs history with 39. As if that was not enough, he stole 23 bases, drew 25 walks and had four game-winning hits during one season. His career batting average of .478 has never been approached, and he securely holds the career records for hits (133) and triples (14).

Numbers like these led to many accolades, including First Team All-Skyway, First Team All-Region and Region IV All-Star. His sophomore year, Stehman earned the league’s Most Valuable Player Award as he led that team to the Skyway Conference Championship and Region IV title. That 1998 squad set a school record with a team batting average of .338 en route to being ranked seventh nationally, which was, up until that point, the second-highest ranking ever attained by a Chiefs baseball team. Stehman then  transferred to the University of Missouri on a baseball scholarship.

While Stehman set records in baseball, fellow inductee Jim Teckenbrock probably holds records in sports broadcasting. A former Chiefs coach, Teckenbrock’s coaching eye and overall sports knowledge informed his early broadcasts at WMRO in Aurora in the 1970s and 80s, leading to a part-time gig at WSPY Radio in 1996. Since becoming a full-time announcer, Teckenbrock has called the action of countless local sporting events over the years, in all kinds of weather and from a wide variety of vantage points. Each year he calls nearly every basketball game of the Plano Christmas Classic; Last December alone, he described the action of 32 games over five days. In addition, over the last 12 years, he has hosted his own Saturday morning sports show and given daily sports reports six days a week, often detailing the latest exploits of Waubonsee’s teams. 

The Waubonsee Athletic Hall of Fame honors former Waubonsee administrators, faculty and staff; athletes; coaches; community supporters; and specific teams who are five years removed from their involvement with Waubonsee athletics.

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